The Unkindest Tide
October Daye, Book #13
By Seanan McGuire
Author’s website: seananmcguire(.)com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.
When the Luidaeg—October “Toby” Daye’s oldest and most dangerous ally—tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can’t refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren’t the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg’s price…or face the consequences.
Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden’s brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that’s when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.
Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?
What’s the unkindest tide?
– William Shakespeare,
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Twelve books ago, in Rosemary and Rue, October “Toby” Daye met The Luidaeg for the first time. She asked for her help in solving a case, and since then has gone back many times asking for more help knowing that help comes with a price and her debt continues to grow. And now is the time for the Luidaeg to call that payment due.
Toby is not the only fae that owes the Luidaeg, all Selkies owe their magic and existence to her. Their creation has been a secret to most fae, but Toby learns of it when her boyfriend Connor dies in One Salt Sea. The Selkies were created by using the seal skins of the Roane, who were the children of the Luidaeg. Now that a child of Amadenie, the liar, has stepped up to do her job, it’s possible to bring back the Roane and end the Selkies.
“The Luidaeg smiled, very slightly. ‘Liar’s daughter, come to turn back the tide. That’s what they called you. You’re a living hope chest. You have the blood magic I’ve been waiting for.’”
I really liked the Unkindest Tide, I have been reading the October Daye series for a long time, and with every new story, it continues to get better. We finally get an outcome to the Selkies’ stories and their relationship with the Luidaeg, It was entertaining to read this new story just like it was an interesting spin-off to the folklore of the selkies that we normally know, and getting an ending was a good change for this myth that exists.
I love reading Toby’s stories, she has changed much in the past books, but she still has a long way to go to have her happy ending. I like her interaction with the rest of the characters and her relationship with Tybalt continues to grow, I hope the wedding is not so far and nobody gets stabbed.
A lot of different characters went to the Duchy of Ship to witness the rebirth of the Roane. It was fun getting to see previous characters among those who travel, such as Prince Nolan Windermere and Casandra, Dean and Marcia, and Patrick with Diana. They all play a great part in this event, the interactions that I liked the most was Dean meeting Captain Pete, or as she was known before, Amphitrite the Firstborn of the Merrow.
Among the new characters that we met in this book were the leaders of the Selkie clans. In the past, we met Elizabeth Ryan, but now we meet the other members that are not so happy with the bill being cashed out and the Luidaeg asking them to choose who will keep the skins forever.
While most of the story in the October Daye series is a blend of mystery and who-did-it genre, there are always magical aspects that help the gang solve the problem. In this case, in the Unkindest Tide, Toby performed the most powerful blood magic spell she has ever done. We also see her transform into a Merrow again thanks to the Luidaeg powerful gifts and Merrow Quentin!
Everything has a price, and Toby’s debts and the changes to the Selkies are pricey, but most of all, this new change is going to change the whole dynamics in the kingdoms and power structures. Toby is always changing everything in the land and now it’s the undersea’s turn.
Author Seanan McGuire has a great way to describe people, places, and magical artifacts that appear in her books. In the Unkindest Tide, we get those descriptions during the meeting of the Duchy of Ships, how everything is connected, and the people that live there. There were beautiful scenes in this book, and I hope we get more in upcoming stories.
“The magic caught, seeking sympathy, fueled by blood, cast wide by the Luidaeg’s net. Gillian made a small sound of dismay. I closed my eyes and kept chanting, kept casting, kept pulling the strands of magic in flesh and in sealskin and tangling them together, until there was nothing but the braided unity, until there was nothing but the single greatest piece of blood magic I had ever performed.”
Most of all, I liked that Toby is keeping her promises to the Luidaeg, not because of her debt but because she knows that it is something that has to happen and wants to alleviate the Luidaeg’s sadness about her children.
If you are a fan of Seanan McGuire and her works, then I recommend you, the Unkindest Tide. In this new story, Toby and her gang travel across the sea to change the Fae forever and pay her dues.